The Seattle Sounders started what might be charitably described as a "conservative" lineup against Monterrey this evening, but they've performed very well against a stuttering Rayados side and take a slim lead into the half. Seattle's tactical approach has been to stifle Monterrey through the midfield with a very deep back line as a safety valve. The bunker-and-counter strategy has paid off; Monterrey has been unable to develop any sort of rhythm in the attack while the Sounders have tested Johnathan Orozco on several occasions and bested him once, with Alvaro Fernandez latching onto a beautiful through-ball from Pat Noonan and firing home in the 38th minute.
The Sounders may have the lead, but it's clearly a very tenuous one; Monterrey is packing a significant amount of firepower and just one slip-up by the back line could see things leveled. Still, a lead is a lead and it's certainly better than the alternative. It will be interesting to see if the Sounders stick with their approach or if they begin to press more with the confidence gained from going ahead. With some decent attacking options still in reserve for the Sounders and some of Monterrey's more dangerous players unlikely to be 90 minute fit, it could be a pretty interesting finish.